Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD, Miss. - Senior first baseman Matt Snyder saved the best for last, belting out a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th on senior day to give No. 24 Ole Miss (32-18, 13-13 SEC) a 7-4 win over Tennessee (24-26, 8-18 SEC) and clinched the weekend series.
It was the first walk-off home run for Snyder in his career and marked his 12th of the season - the 10th in Southeastern Conference play this year for the left-handed hitter.
It took a big hit from a freshman to set up the game-winning hit for the senior, as Sikes Orvis came up with a two-run home run as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and set up the extra-inning win for the Rebels.
With the win, the Rebels have clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Brett Huber (2-2) picked up the win in relief, working the final two innings of play and allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Huber entered the game in relief of Tanner Bailey who worked 5.0 innings in relief himself and allowed one run on one hit with a walk and eight strikeouts.
Drew Steckenrider (4-6) suffered the loss in relief, allowing five runs on three hits with five walks and three strikeouts over the final 4.1 innings.
"We played a great game," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "I'm proud of our guys. We didn't play very well starting off. Obviously it was a tough day for Mike Mayers. He didn't have his best stuff today. He had some trouble locating all of his pitches. But, he hung in there. Then Tanner (Bailey) came in and was tremendous. He put up a lot of zeros. Finally, we got things going offensively with a huge homerun from Sikes Orvis and the big three-run home run from Matt (Snyder) in the 11th to win it."
Tennessee struck first, turning a Zach Osborne walk into a run with a single that moved Osborne from first to third and a sac fly from Steckenrider to go up 1-0 in the first inning.
The Vols added single runs in the third and fourth inning to move out to a 3-0 lead on the Rebels as Tennessee starter Nick Williams held Ole Miss off the board through six innings.
The Rebels responded in the seventh, pushing a pair of runs home to cut the lead to one. Auston Bousfield drew a lead-off walk and moved to third on a single through the right side from Austin Anderson and moved to second on the throw to put two men in scoring position. Will Jamison then came up with an infield single to score Bousfield and move Anderson to third, and the Rebels were on the board.
Tanner Mathis then ground out to second to score Anderson and Ole Miss trailed 3-2 before Tennessee got out of the inning.
The Volunteers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Ethan Bennett homered down the left field line with a shot that hit off the foul pole to give Tennessee the 4-2 lead.
The Rebels weren't done, however, as Anderson opened the bottom of the ninth with a single through the right side and Orvis hit his two-run shot into the bullpen in right field to tie the game. The Rebels would go on to load the bases, but Tennessee got out of the inning with no more damage and the game moved into extra frames.
Mathis drew a lead-off walk in the 11th before a sac bunt from Andrew Mistone moved him to second. The Volunteers then elected to intentionally walk Alex Yarbrough for the second time on the night to bring Snyder to the plate. The senior first baseman then hit his tower shot to right field to give Ole Miss the 7-4 win and the series.
The Rebels and Tennessee will play the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Graveman hurls MSU to 2-0 blanking of Florida
MSU Media Relations
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Kendall Graveman and Jonathan Holder combined on a three-hit shutout as No. 25 Mississippi State blanked No. 5 Florida 2-0 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Bulldogs threw their fifth shutout of the season. It is only the sixth time in Kevin O'Sullivan's 309 games as head coach that the Gators have been shut out. MSU will face the rubber game of a weekend conference series for the fifth time this season Sunday afternoon.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 31-19 overall and 13-13 in league play. MSU also nailed down a berth in this season's SEC Tournament, which begins May 22 in Hoover, Ala. The Maroon and White are tied with Ole Miss for second place in the Western Division standings. Florida fell to 37-14 and 15-11.
"We had so many opportunities but we did take advantage of a few," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "Kendall is such a warrior. He carried the whole team on his shoulders tonight. We defended it well. We pitched it well. If you do those things, you are going to win a lot of games in this league."
Graveman (4-3) worked 7.2 innings, allowing three hits, with one walk, one hit batsman and three strikeouts. Graveman faced six batters past the minimum. Jonathan Holder retired all four batters he faced, with two by strikeout, for his fourth save.
MSU scored the run it needed in its first at-bat. Adam Frazier led off with a single. Taylor Stark reached as a hit batsman. A groundout moved Frazier to third base. Frazier then scored on a Hunter Renfroe RBI-single.
A leadoff walk to Frazier opened the door for another Bulldog run in the fifth inning. After a sacrifice bunt by Stark, a two-out RBI-single by Phillip Casey brought the run home.
The Bulldogs left the bases loaded in the third, fifth and sixth innings but had done enough damage to win.
Renfroe paced MSU's seven-hit attack with three singles, while Frazier had multiple hits. Renfroe is now six-for-eight in the series and has collected six of his team's 13 hits, with back-to-back career-high three-hit games.
Starting pitcher Jonathon Crawford (4-2) took the loss for the Gators. Crawford lasted four-plus innings, allowing four hits and two runs (both earned). Justin Shafer had two of the Gators' three hits.
"You can't win a series until you win the first game," Cohen said. "I am so proud of the effort that we showed tonight. If you keep battling and you keep playing hard, good things are going to happen to you."
The series concludes with a noon CT runner game Sunday. MSU then closes its regular season with a four-game homestand, including Central Arkansas and Kentucky, at Dudy Noble Field. MSU and Central Arkansas meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the Bulldogs and Wildcats close out the conference slate with start times of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
USM baseball game with ECU suspended Saturday due to rain
USM Media Relations
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball game with East Carolina at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field, Saturday, was suspended due to rain with the score tied at 2-2.
The game will be picked up at 9 a.m., Sunday morning with the regularly scheduled game slated for 11 a.m.
East Carolina was batting in the top of the seventh with one out and a runner at second base.
The start time of Saturday's game was moved up four hours to try and miss the rain. The two teams were able to get six-plus innings in before the game was delayed at 11:48 a.m. The teams waited almost 2 ½ hours before the decision was made to suspend play until Sunday.
Sunday's scheduled contest is the final home contest for the Golden Eagles in 2012.
Read more in Sunday's NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.